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SUNDERLAND IS THE UK'S SOLE REPRESENTATIVE in the annual international shortlist for the World's Most Intelligent Cities/Communities.
For the second year running an international panel of IT and business experts have again placed the City amongst a final shortlist of seven world leaders in promoting the use of technology with the eventual winner to be announced this Summer, with the City appearing in the original of 18 list candidates for an unprecedented fourth year.
Leading cities such as London, Dublin and New York Long Island were among the original 18 candidates waiting for the final shortlist to be announced at the Pacific Telecommunications Council conference in Honolulu, Hawaii yesterday (23.30 GMT).
The Top Seven Intelligent Cities/Communities of 2005 are :
- Issy-les-Moulineaux ( France )
- Mitaka, Japan
- Pirai, Brazil
- Tianjin, China
- Toronto, Canada
Councillor Bob Symonds, Leader of City of Sunderland Council said : " This is fantastic news for Sunderland. Being named amongst the seven leading Intelligent Cities in the world is quite some achievement and we hope to go one better this year and actually be named in June as the world leader in promoting the use of technology for the benefit of all our community."
The theme of this year's awards was ' Collaboration ' with strong emphasis on partnership working between the public and private sector across the government, academic and business sectors of the community.
John G.Jung, chairman of the Intelligent Community Forum said : " We have never received such an impressive number of qualified submissions, which made it very difficult to select the Top Seven.
" The quality of the global submissions seem to be improving every year. Everyone of the 18 finalists were impressive and should feel proud that they are among the top intelligent communities in the world."
Nominations for Intelligent Cities are based on five criteria :
- providing increased IT availability and broadband communications to homes, businesses and government through the creation of websites and IT facilities
- effective IT staff education and training
- increasing access to broadband and e-technology
- promoting and supporting technological innovation
- effective marketing of the economic and social advantages provided by increased use of e-technology which has gained the City impressive successes in attracting financial investment
Tom Hurst, Chief Investment Officer said : " Sunderland continues to attract worldwide business investment on the basis of our commitment to e-technology and promoting its use as a vital tool in promoting commerce, training and education, and being shortlisted again for this prestigious awards shows those efforts are internationally recognised.
" Latest testament to this continued commitment to using new technology to its fullest advantage is our £100 million Rainton Bridge e- business park which should provide 4000 new jobs, and include a £ 7 million incubator unit funded by the council which will provide a home for up to 20 fledgling businesses. This latest development will follow on from Doxford International Business Park which has earned worldwide recognition from business leaders.
" Rainton Bridge is already being acknowledged as one of the best connected business parks in Europe, and that coupled with Government recognition of our website as one of the best in the country when it comes to supporting business, shows the progress we are making."
Rainton Bridge is only one of the planks on which the Sunderland bid for the Intelligent City Award is based. A number of other factors will also be taken into account by the judges in deciding Sunderland's merits for the title of ' World's Most Intelligent City. '
- being finalists in the e-Government National Awards 2004 through its involvment in the TWICT (Tyne and Wear ICT) Partnership to provide 50 on-street electronic information ' kiosks ' throughout the region where people can use touch-screen and keyboard technology to immediately access council services.
- the Council's pioneering ' peoplefirst ' programme which aims to make both council and other public services more accessible through providing state-of-the-art customer service centres and the appropriate technology to ensure that access
- installation of Broadband in all 123 of the City's schools
- Beacon status for ICT for promoting Social Inclusion through wider community accessibility to computers and computer training through locally based initiatives with such as providing free internet facilities in libraries and 'electronic village halls'
- Sunderland based electronic company Techtonik named as winner of the Government backed Top 100 Inner City Business Award with a tribute in his acceptance speech from Managing Director Peter Johnson for the support his company received from the Sunderland City Council since the company's modest beginnings in a unit at the City's Business Innovation Centre
Tecntonik Managing Director Peter Johnson said : " Techtonik are delighted to hear that we have played a small role in Sunderland once again being shortlisted for the prestigious WMIC award and heartily agree that the nomination is richly deserved--we will keep our fingers crossed!"
Cllr Bob Symonds added: "It is a great honour to again be considered amongst the world's most intelligent cities.
" This City has made tremendous strides over the last 14 years using technological innovation as the engine to drive forward development to attract business, investment and jobs to make Sunderland an even better place to live and work."
the Press Office: 0191 553 1136/1137/1139
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